Daily Mirror: The issues in Boris Johnson's intray

23 July 2019

The Daily Mirror asked seven experts what the government needs to do to get on top of some of the biggest policy challenges - what Boris Johnson should do with his time as Prime Minister.

Haydn Belfield, Research Associate, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk discussed the malicious use of artificial intelligence:

"Boris Johnson doesn’t need to worry about the Terminator – but he should worry about new and powerful tools in the hands of terrorists and criminals.

A video pops up online of PM Boris Johnson acting strangely, threatening to smash Iran to “smithereens” – Iran responds by threatening a British ship. But is the video real? Is it fake? How can anyone tell?

Creating fake videos - so-called “deepfakes” - is getting easier and cheaper

Currently, it’s used to make fake porn videos of famous women against their will.

As this made-up story shows, it will also be misused by criminals and terrorists to disrupt our politics.

Artificial intelligence (AI) are machines that can think and learn like we can.

In recent years AI has got much better, superhuman at many tasks.

AI already surrounds us - from the Facebook Newsfeed to the next Spotify song.

It will keep on getting better.

But it will also be used to harm us.

The WannaCry computer virus brought the NHS to a standstill for days in 2017.

Gatwick Airport was brought to a standstill for days in 2018 by one remote-controlled drone.

The police never found the culprits.

These kinds of attacks - cyber-attacks and physical attacks - will be made cheaper and easier by new AI technology.

AI is starting to change our lives – who gets jobs, how we vote, even who we marry.

We need to think seriously about these changes, and especially how they will be misused.

The new PM should build on May’s early steps towards developing safe and ethical AI.

The UK can provide leadership in partnership with allies across the world – and with business – to capture the promise while avoiding the risks."

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